Night in the Woods — 4/5 Stars
Night in the Woods is a story-driven adventure game developed by indie developer Infinite Fall. You play as Mae, a 20-year-old anthropomorphic cat who has dropped out of college and doesn’t want to talk about why. You follow Mae as she returns to her small, economically struggling, rural hometown of Possum Springs and attempts to rediscover her place amongst friends and family, while also learning how to be an adult. All the while a mystery is afoot in Possum Springs.
Night in the Woods features a distinct art style with several truly breathtaking moments. The choice to have all the characters be anthropomorphic animals creates a unique aesthetic as Mae, a cat, is best friends with a fox, a bear, and an alligator. This contributes to the sense of magical realism throughout the game.
The gameplay is a mix of exploration, conversation choices, and a few platforming puzzles. Mae can run, jump, and interact with her environment to progress the story. Night in the Woods features hidden achievements and lots of fun surprises to discover, rewarding exploration outside of the story.
The story pacing in Night in the Woods is excellent. Mae slowly and reluctantly reveals her story, taking time to delve into her past and work through how that baggage has affected her and has led to her current situation. It feels like a very true-to-life portrayal of a young adult in a small town. The mysteries of Mae’s past, her reasons for dropping out of college, and what secrets are being kept in Possum Springs are deeply engaging and leave players hungry for answers.
Mae’s mother works at the church and her faith is a predominant aspect of her character. Mae struggles with her own faith, and spends several scenes discussing it with her mother and the pastor. The realistic portrayal of grappling with faith as a young adult felt especially poignant as we watch Mae struggle with the idea that the old has gone, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Night in the Woods is a deeply relatable game to any young adult trying to figure out #adulting. Finding jobs in an economy different from our parents’, coping with a changing society, discovering a personal faith, and finding a place in the world are all very real topics young adults face everyday. Night in the Woods is a cathartic exercise in facing the challenges of young adult life and finding acceptance. It’s an enjoyable story and gameplay experience, and one I would recommend.
Chris Clark | Portland | Northern New England